Only 72 hours after releasing opposition lawmaker Juan Requesens, the Nicolas Maduro regime announced the releasing, pardoning, or allowing to return to Venezuela some 110 individuals, including 20% of all opposition lawmakers.
The propaganda minister, Jorge Rodriguez, admitted that the regime was doing so to get the participation of the political opposition in the parliamentary elections dated December 6, which the US and other members of the international community have denounced as an unfair contest.
In a radio and television broadcast, Rodriguez announced the presidential pardon decree that benefits a group of opposition parliamentarians among Freddy Guevara, Mariela Magallanes, Freddy Superlano, Americo de Grazia, Carlos Lozano, Jorge Millan, Jose Guerra, Richard Blanco, Tomas Guanipa, Luis Stefanelli, Carlos Paparoni, Juan Andres Mejia, Miguel Pizarro, Rafael Guzmán, Franco Casella, Juan Pablo Garcia, Winston Flores, Jose Simon Calzadilla, Henry Ramos Allup, Edgar Zambrano, Luis Florido, Juan Pablo Guanipa, Gilber Caro, Ismael Leon, Renzo Prieto, Tony Geara.
Very few of them were tried, while the vast majority never had an arraignment hearing.
Already, De Grazia, Magallanes, and Mejia have denounced the measure, arguing that they do not recognize Maduro as President so that he can hardly pardon people, but urging the regime to take more, and more honest, humanitarian measures. In the case of the deputy Gilber Caro, this is the third time that he es freed since Maduro took over in 2013.
“It is important that all sectors of the country can feel that they have someone to vote for,” said Rodriguez about the December 6 vote.
Requesens, released Friday, and some of the individuals benefitted today were accused by Maduro of trying to kill him or overthrow the regime violently.
Colombian newspaper El Tiempo summarized the situation: “The measure, which supposes the pardon of the penalties of each one, but which would not imply the lifting of the disqualifications, is produced three days after the surprising release of the deputy Juan Requesens, amid rumors about a supposed negotiation between the regime and the opposition, given the controversial parliamentary elections.”
It is as yet unknown if the parliamentary fora of lawmakers, which was violated by the regime, will be fully restored.
Additional reporting by Carlos Camacho in Caracas.